July 9, 2016 / 5:42 PM / 3 years ago

Obama 'concerned' about U.S. State Department handling of classified information

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WARSAW (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday he was concerned about how the State Department handles classified information but cast this as part of a government-wide challenge in the age of email, texts and smartphones.

FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday recommended against prosecuting Hillary Clinton or her aides for their “extremely careless” handling of classified information on the private email server that she used as secretary of state.

Comey said the FBI had found evidence that “the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information that’s found elsewhere in the U.S. government.”

Asked about the FBI director’s assessment, Obama told reporters in a news conference: “I am concerned.”

“The advent of email and texts and smart phones is just generating enormous amounts of data,” Obama added, saying that this, in turn was “putting enormous pressure on the department to sort through it, classify it properly.”

Obama said that if one classified too much, the benefits of the information evaporated because it took too long to process. “It reflects a larger problem in government,” he added. Clinton has said her use of a private email server was a mistake.

Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe, Jeff Mason and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by G Crosse and Sandra Maler

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